- APRIL POTTER
OMER NAEK, Pl. Fin., Senior Financial Planner, Gestion Omer Naek Inc, Montreal, Quebec
“Life is constantly changing; you need a proactive Advisor
who will adapt to your evolving needs and goals.”
Senior Financial Planner Omer Naek believes in living a well-balanced life and encourages his clients to do the same. To help clients meet their goals, he employs a method that never fails – he gets to know them well. In fact, relationship building is the part of his job that he enjoys the most.
“Everybody sells investments,” says Omer. “You could find any broker to handle your investments, but it really should be someone you trust and have a good relationship with – because if you have a good relationship with someone, you'll feel confident placing your money in their hands and trusting them 100%. I take pride in my work, and I’ve been fortunate to build strong relationships.”
At 33 years old, Omer is confident that with those strong relationships, he’s also built a strong business. With more than a decade of experience in the financial industry, he is fortunate to have grown his business to a comfortable size. Most important, he chooses his clients and ensures that they really do click.
“At the end of the day it’s like any relationship,” he says. “As much as a client is choosing me, I’m choosing them as well. I’m easy-going and get along with pretty much everyone I meet. If I don’t feel like I’m getting along with someone well it’s kind of a red flag for me and that’s important because I want to sign someone that I’ll be working with for their entire life and perhaps even with future generations of their family.”
From Credit Card Specialist to Financial Planner
While he was growing up, hockey was a constant presence in Omer’s life. He began playing the sport as a young child and grew up to play semi-professionally. He found himself facing a big decision after graduating high school – continue with a hockey career that could possibly take him to Europe, but likely end in 10 years – or find a career path that would last much longer. Ultimately, he got his start at TD bank as a credit card specialist.
Within six months he became number one in credit card sales over the phone.
“My performance was getting noticed, in fact I was outperforming everything the bank was giving me,” says Omer. “So, the head of the department had a conversation with me to discuss my future career path. I told him I enjoyed sales and cold calling and that I wanted to channel those skills into a meaningful and rewarding career. I was given information about four or five different career paths that might interest me. I was given numbers and contacts and I spoke with several different people holding different roles at the bank. When I spoke with the Investment Advisors and the Financial Planners – their lifestyle kind of intrigued me, I could see the work-life balance potential with these roles.”
Omer says that he liked the idea of controlling his own schedule and being self-employed. So, he made the decision to pursue his IQPF designation in Quebec and became a Financial Planner.
“Many of the clients I meet with today put a heavier emphasis on making money than they do on the financial planning aspect of their investments,” explains Omer. “It’s my job to show them that financial planning isn’t something that everybody does, and they’ll make more if they leverage my skills to help them manage their money – even debt is part of that equation. It’s why I stand out; I offer more than just investing and people come to learn that as they get to know me – another benefit to building a relationship instead of just selling a product.”
Time Management and Managing Time
Omer values time management, he also values his personal time and knows how to disconnect when he needs to. Professionally, he says that he first mastered time management skills while working with credit cards.
“Working with credit cards actually involved a lot of time management,” he explains. “The clock for your shift started right when you got to your desk – kind of like getting on the ice in hockey I suppose. I took pride in my ability to maximize my time during shifts and learning those skills early on has helped me to live a more relaxed lifestyle today.”
The secret to Omer’s well-balanced life is how he can accomplish a great deal during his designated work time and rely on the strength of his relationships to set reasonable access boundaries when he needs them. While he can unplug when he really needs to, he says that on a typical day he doesn’t delay things like replying to emails.
“I like to be accessible, available by phone, text, email, but I do put up a few boundaries during a vacation or family time of course,” he adds. “I know that I’ve built enough mutual respect with my clients that I can be honest and ask them if it can wait until later, or if my assistant can help. Life is too short, taking time to be with my family is a gentle reminder to clients to do the same. I like to remind people that money isn’t everything and there are more important things in life, and I see these relationships more as friendships than I see them as just business.”
Omer himself was reminded of this with the recent unexpected loss of a close family member.
“My father-in-law passed away in January, he was 65,” says Omer. “He was going to meet with me to plan his retirement the following month. He worried about retirement and debt, but I assured him he didn’t have to because he had savings. I also became a father around this time. It made me realize that whatever you’re stressed about, it’s just not worth it – you can’t prepare for everything, but you can remind yourself to live your life.”
Enjoying Your Life Qualifies as a Good Reason to Spend Money
Omer says that it’s really a mentality that can be changed when someone wants to buy something but thinks that they can’t afford it. He says it’s also a mentality to always want to save and fear spending money. Many of his clients come to him with the belief that they shouldn’t be using savings to do some of the things they’d like to do with their money.
“It’s ok to save, but we’re living in a world where mental health is now recognized and valued,” he explains. “Enjoying life is important, a work-life balance is important for our wellbeing.”
The trick is to also find a good balance between a client’s spending and savings goals.
“Of course, I always want to help my clients meet their financial goals,” says Omer. “I just want to make sure that they’re enjoying life while trying to reach those goals. So, if a client comes to me and wants to travel or make a purchase that they worry about, we can find a way to make it work. Enjoying your life within your means is very important – for the extras, it’s part of my job to figure out how and where the money to fund that can be found – rather than just saying no.”
Traditionally, moving money out of a portfolio to be spent isn’t top of mind for most Advisors and moves are typically only made for very good reasons.
“Personally, I see enjoying life as the ultimate good reason. If it’s feasible to take out money to live a dream today without sacrificing tomorrow, why wait until you’re 80 – you don’t know what life will be like for you then, enjoy it now while you’re in good health and have the mobility,” he adds.
April Potter is a veteran writer with expertise in financial services including nearly 15 years in debt restructuring. April has written for multiple online publications on a variety of subjects. Also a painter, her background in finance is balanced by her artistic endeavors.
OMER NAEK, Pl. Fin., B.A.A., Senior Financial Planner,
Gestion Omer Naek Inc